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Former Holy Cross star, BC defensive coordinator Bill McGovern dies

In all, Mr. McGovern was an assistant coach for 39 years in the college ranks and in the NFL

LOS ANGELES — Bill McGovern, an All-American defensive back at Holy Cross who served as an assistant coach for 39 years in the college ranks and in the NFL, died May 30. He was 60.

UCLA announced the death, citing cancer. Mr. McGovern’s last coaching stint was as defensive coordinator for the Bruins. He missed most of the second half of last season due to health issues, but remained on staff as director of football administration.

Mr. McGovern spent the biggest chunk of his career coaching at Boston College, where he was the defensive backs coach from 1994 to 1996, including a stint as defensive coordinator. He returned as the linebackers coach in 2000, serving until 2009, when he became defensive coordinator until 2012. According to the college, the Eagles appeared in a bowl game in each of his seasons from 2000-2011, winning eight. The 2007 team reached No. 2 in the national polls and tied the school’s single-season record for wins with 11.

Mr. McGovern, during a Boston College practice in 1995. WIGGS, JONATHAN GLOBE STAFF PHOT

He was credited with helping develop standout linebackers Mark Herzlich and Luke Kuechly.


Before BC, he had served as defensive coordinator under head coach Jim Reid at the University of Massachusetts. Other collegiate stops were made at Nebraska, Pittsburgh, Holy Cross, and Penn.

In the NFL, Mr. McGovern had stints with the Philadelphia Eagles, New York Giants, and Chicago Bears.

He also had a successful playing career at Holy Cross. He was a four-year starter at defensive back and set a NCAA Division I-AA record with 11 interceptions in 1984. His 24 career picks also tied a Division I-AA record. He is in Holy Cross’s Hall of Fame and is on the ballot as a candidate for the College Football Hall of Fame.

A native of Oradell, N.J., Mr. McGovern most recently lived in Redondo Beach, Calif.


He leaves his wife, Colleen, and three daughters Amanda, Delainey, and Mackenzie.